Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Marriage Tips

Hi, I told you I was going to re-post some of the "good" articles from my old blog. This one was originally posted on Valentine's day, and was fairly well received. If you didn't read it yet, hope you find it helpful ...

I usually get most of my marriage and relationship advice from my friend Lin’s blog. But, seeing as how it’s Valentine’s day and all, I thought I might share a few little nuggets that I’ve picked up over the years.

I’m not on my first marriage. Ana and I had both done this previously. To be honest, I’m not sure whether that makes me less, or more, qualified to offer advice on making it work. I hate to say that my first marriage was just a “test” or a “learning experience”, but I can say unequivocally that I get along so well with Ana to some extent because of the lessons I learned when I was in my 20s.


I’ll start out with the most important one first …

  1. Banish the phrase “how it should be” from your vocabulary.

    Your marriage (and really life in general) is how it is. It will pretty much Never be exactly how it “should be”.

    Wanna know why? Because “how it should be” is a moving target.

    It’s kind of like one of my favorite quotes: “True happiness is not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have”.

    Can you think of a better way to define a successful marriage?

  2. Accept that No One (not even your spouse) can make you happy, angry, sad, etc,.

    Your husband or wife may be able to create or enhance conditions that make it easier for you to be happy. But ultimately, our happiness is not dependent on someone else … we always have some degree of control over how we feel.

    And here’s kind of a funny thing. The more we love ourselves, and take control of our own happiness, the easier it becomes for others to enhance those feelings.

  3. Loving someone doesn’t mean you need to be together 24 hours a day.

    Ironically, this is a lesson that my wife Ana helped me get a better grip on. It’s ok if we don’t always watch the same tv shows. It’s not the end of the world if I want to go golfing on Saturday and she’d prefer to shop. It’s great if we have some friends in common … but it’s also perfectly healthy to occasionally do our “own thing” with “our own people”.

    In short, the fact that we can be happy and fulfilled as individuals makes it much easier to also appreciate the good feelings that we get from doing things as a couple.

    This may be a bit simplistic, but my interpretation of this is that “wanting” to be with someone is a healthy and desirable thing … “needing” them; probably not so much.

  4. Admit when you’re wrong, but don’t always try to “fix” it (mainly aimed a guys)

    ALL couples will fight … or have disagreements if you prefer … and, there’s almost always plenty of blame to go around. Over many years of “experimentation” (almost none of it willingly), I have come to the conclusion that the “best” way to resolve a serious disagreement with your spouse is to accept responsibility if you messed up (which let’s face it, if you’re a guy, you probably did … it’s in our nature); apologize; then just let time work it’s magic …

    When I was young, I was already reasonably good at accepting responsibility, and I think apologizing is pretty easy for most people, but boy did I have a hard time if everything wasn’t “fixed” quickly enough. The sad result was that silly little arguments too often turned into huge fights … because one or the other of us didn’t apologize back right away … you know, like we “should” have done … which led to more arguing …

    Now, either I’m older and wiser, or I just got lucky and found a partner who’s temperament is better suited to mine (most likely a combination of both). When Ana and I have a disagreement, if she tells me to leave her alone, I listen. I know that in a couple of days, everything will be ok … or at least good enough that we can have a rational discussion.

It’s only been a couple of years, but so far I can honestly say that we’ve yet to have a “fight” that I’d be embarrassed for my kids to know about. (again, unfortunately, not something I can say about my first marriage).

Anyhow, I’m obviously no expert on marriage, but I do feel quite happy about how mine seems to work. If any of my advice or lessons happens to resonate and help you, all the better. And as always, please feel free to share your own stories and opinions in the comments below.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Colorful Hawaiian Sunset

This is one of the last pictures I took before we left Hawaii:

Colorful Hawaiian Sunset

I mainly wanted to post this picture up here so that I have a something pretty to look at while I build a few required pages on this new blog.

But also, when I previous posted this picture on my old site, Sire from the Wassup blog had asked that maybe I could post something about how I made this image. Well, since this blog does have "tips" in it's name ...

Here's a little secret for you. Good photography is not only about having a nice expensive camera (which I do), or having a good eye; what most people don't realize is that a lot of the magic is actually in the post processing.

Here's the image above as it looked straight from the camera:
sunset raw image

It's not bad, the colors are okay, but it's definitely nothing to write home about.

Unfortunately, at the time I processed this image, I didn't really plan to be doing "tutorials", so I didn't save a PSD with all the layers. In the future, if I do tutorials, I'll be sure to save screenshots. For this one though, I can definite share a few steps that I know I would have taken with an image like this.

First thing's first, I shoot almost all of my pictures in RAW format. If your camera has this option, it's well worth using. You can easily make adjustments to things like white balance, exposure, even colors before you ever actually "open" the image.

The next thing I might do with a colorful image like this is see if this tip that I got from a photography blog I follow will work well: Turn Ho-Hum Color into WOW! with Photoshop. I set this up as a photoshop action, so I just followed the steps once, and now if I want to do this, it's just a one button click. And since it makes the adjustments as a new layer, if I don't like it, I can just delete the layer, no harm, no foul.

Speaking of layers ...

Again, I can't be sure since I don't have the psd file, but this image most likely took a good 30-45 minutes to produce, and probably had a half dozen layers before it was all done. I'm a big fan of using layers for different color adjustments, and lighting features ... then making liberal use of the eraser and history brushes. One of these days I'll get around to becoming more proficient with masks, and probably save myself a bit of time.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this basic "behind the scenes" look at making a colorful sunset picture. I promise that any future tutorials will have more supporting material. In the mean time, browsing around DPS (where that tutorial came from) could probably keep you busy for weeks.

Til next time, keep havin FuN!

I Killed My Blog

My Success with Todd blog is officially D.E.D ... dead.

I killed it.

This is a lesson I should have already known, but some old dogs never learn new tricks. A person who only knows just enough coding to be dangerous, really shouldn't be playing around with php code that he doesn't really understand.

Whatever I did, it messed up not only the code, but the database ... to the point where I was getting "not enough memory" errors. That scared me enough to just suspend the domain, and set this blog up instead. (I don't want to lose my whole reseller account).

Anyhow, the news isn't all bad. I do have back-ups of many of my favorite posts from the past 2 years. That being said, rather than just restore the database, or the xml file to this domain, I think I'm going to use this an opportunity to actually do my blog "right". Make sure I have, and keep, valid code. And re-write my posts with better titles, and content.

Over the coming weeks/months, I'll be posting new content, mixed in with the re-writes of my previous posts.

This really is a totally fresh start. It will be very interesting to see how a brand new blog progresses, given that I have a couple of years experience under my belt now.

If you were a regular reader of Success with Todd, and you have any ideas or suggestions for things you'd like to see different here on tmTips, please feel free to shoot me a note.

Thanks in advance,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Do You Define Rich?

??????????? ????????? So what exactly does it mean to be "rich"?

Is it a specific level of income per month, or per year? Is it when your net worth (assets minus obligations) reaches a certain pre-defined threshold? Is it a "lifestyle", that may or may not have anything to do with how much money you actually have?

To be honest, I really don't know exactly how to pin down a really good definition of rich.

One thing's for sure though, it sure does seem like most of us spend an inordinate amount of time and energy obsessing over the idea of BEing rich some day.

Here's something to chew on ...

What if we are already rich, but don't even realize it?

What if being rich, while still involving money, has nothing to do with exactly how much you actually make?

Here's my definition:

You are Rich when you have Freedom From Money.

Think about that for a second ...

It could be argued that the financial crisis our country is currently undergoing was caused by people with a lot of money, who were so obsessed with making even more, that they participated in illogical, and possibly unethical schemes.

These people are not rich (even if those with millions in the bank). The pursuit of money controls their lives.

On the flip side, we all know people who might not possess vast amounts of material wealth, but always seem to have more than enough to live a comfortable life. They don't worry about money.

In my book, that's Rich.

Just my three pennies,

p.s. I've posted this quote before, but I think it's relevant to this post:
"True happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have"

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Got a House on Fort Hood

Whew, it's been a busy week ...

We've been unpacking boxes for the past 3 days. But it's all good, last week I got a nice surprise. We'd been looking at a few houses out the local community surrounding Ft. Hood, and even saw a few that we might like to rent. Well, the military has a rule that you're supposed to check in with the housing office before you sign a lease. So, like the good Airman that I am, I stopped by. To make a long story short, instead of giving me information about leasing in the community, they offered us a 5 bedroom house on post.

We took it.

So for now, our new "home town" is the Comanche II housing area on the western side of Fort Hood. It's a big house, probably more room than we actually need. There is a park/playground almost right outside the gate of our backyard, as Jasmine (6 y/o) is pretty happy. And both the elementary and middle schools are within walking distance ... although at .7 of a mile, Johnathan might argue that point.

I took a few pictures (just keep in mind that we are definitely in the "process" of our unpacking.

This a picture of the front of the house. There is a pretty nice storage area behind those 2 doors at the end of the driveway. And there is a small balcony over the front door (not sure what we are going to do with that).

Fort Hood Comanche II front of our house

This is the back of the house. We've got a big back yard, and two porches ... one covered porch on the ground floor, and another nice balcony that's actually big enough to put a patio set on.
Fort Hood Comanche II back of our house

The house is still generally a total mess, but we did manage to get a bare-bones living room together, so that at least we have somewhere to sit and watch tv.
Fort Hood Comanche II our living room

... that was just half the room (it's not that small). We're still not sure what's going in the back.
Fort Hood Comanche II our living room

Finally, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this if I hadn't also set up a couple of our computers. lol, although one of Ana's first goals is to replace my little desks with something not nearly so "ugly".
Fort Hood Comanche II our computer room

Looks like Ana also has a few more pictures of the house on her flickr page

Ok, I gotta get back to unpacking. I hope to catch up with all of you again real soon.

til then, keep havin FuN!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

God Blessed Texas

DSCF2645 ... at least that's how the song goes.

We've been here in Texas for almost 4 days now ... and we're already on our second hotel room. I won't go into too much detail here, but basically don't always believe those reviews you read in the google local search results. The room was "ok" ... but not exactly quality ... and when several people who are from a place tell you it's probably not safe to go out after dark in that neighborhood, probably a clue that you need to find a new place to lay your head.

The good news is, the hotel we are in now is about 200% nicer. And once the weather warms up a bit, there's a pool out back to help relieve the kids boredom a little. We've done a little bit of house hunting, but can't really do any walk-throughs until tomorrow. We found a couple that we like ... so far this one: Diana Loop is on the top of our list.

We also made a new purchase. Picked up a TomTom XL GPS. This is a WAY COOL new toy. And useful too ... I can't imagine house hunting in a new area without it.

Anyhow, it's time for bed. I really dig the "old post promoter" plugin, but I figured it's probably not a bad idea to at least get a few new posts into the mix as well ... lol, this "I'm moving" excuse will only work for so long. ;-)

Wish me luck on the house hunting. Keep havin FuN!

Link Love – Social Networking, Building Niche Stores, Adsense Rules, and Much More

It's been a good start to the week out there in the blogosphere. I just wanted to take a quick opportunity to share some of the best of what I've been reading ...

  • First, Jack Humphrey just released the newly updated Authority Black Book 2008. I read the first version of this book back when I was just getting started with Blogger. At the time, I really didn't understand about half of what I was reading. But, the parts I did understand set the foundation for where I am today with my blogs ... and through the course of several additional readings, I eventually figured out most of the rest of it. This new updated version contains all the great lessons of the original, and expands on them. If you're all interested in Web 2.0 and/or Social Networking, Authority Black Book 2008 is a must read.

  • The second nice surprise so far this week was today's release of Build a Niche Store V3.0. I've been using BANS on a couple of my domains for about a month and a half now. I can definitely see the potential to earn money with BANS ... but, in all honesty I was waiting for the Version 3.0 release before I really dig into it. Alan at affiliate confession has posted a short BANS review, and has promised a more in-depth 5-part tutorial ... I'm looking forward to reading it.

  • One of the best reasons to have blog buddies is so that sometimes you can read a good synopsis of important news, instead of having to find out about, and research it yourself. Yesterday my friend Aaron Cook made just such a post about the new Google Adsense terms and conditions. I don't use a lot of adsense, I think there's only one post on this blog (about dreamboards) that has a small adsense unit in it. Even so, I do plan on making more use of adsense in the future ... especially on my niche sites ... so, it's important to keep up with all the latest rules. Aaron's post does a great job of highlighting them.

  • Another of my new blogging friends, Bobby, has been going though some rough times lately ... something I can relate to on more occasions than I'd probably care to admit. But, fortunately it looks like he's taken some of those experiences and turned them into a positive. In one of his more recent posts, Bobby shares his experience of learning to use his coping skills. I think there's definitely some lessons in there for all of us.

  • Even though I swore off the ambition to become a "pro blogger" last week, I still couldn't resist reading, and Linking to Lin's wonderful post about 5 Ways to Make your Blog Posts Scream for Attention. I was already a basic understanding of most these tips: 1. Blog Design 2. Post Titles 3. Quality Content 4. SEO Basics 5. Social Media Networking but, I really like the way Lin explains them, and gives real life examples of how and why they work. Telling It Like It Is is definitely one of my favorite "must read" blogs.

  • And finally, since I also proclaimed a few days ago that I'm a proud network marketer I've gotta give some link love to one of my all time favorite mlm trainers, John Milton Fogg. He's been on a tear lately about Beliefs, and just yesterday posted 10 of his favorite quotes about Belief. I'm a fan of quotes, beliefs, and John Milton Fogg, so this post was a natural for me

Ok, well bed time is quickly approaching, so I'll have to leave it at that. I hope you enjoy and are able to make use of these posts from my friends.

Keep havin FuN!